January 5th, 2008
As a happy KDE user, I used to install Kubuntu on the computers of those relatives and friends of mine who wanted to make the switch to GNU/Linux. Now I install Ubuntu (because of Gnome), while I’m still a happy KDE user (eager to use KDE 4!).
The first time I installed GNU/Linux on someone else’s computer was on my girlfriend’s; it was Mandrake 9.x with KDE (yeah, it’s been a while). I was glad to see how happy she was with her brand-new, freedom-respectful, fully-featured system (even my mother-in-law loved it!).
Since then, I’ve installed Kubuntu on the laptops of my parents, my dear 8-years-old sister, other relatives and some friends of mine. Except for my little sister, they all complained about GNU/Linux being harder to use than Windows (but by “harder” they often meant “different”, as they expected GNU/Linux to look like Windows, despite I warned them); also, I often received phone calls and emails from them, asking for help with “Linux”.
So I tried something new, replace KDE by Gnome. When I went to Venezuela this summer, I replaced Kubuntu by Ubuntu on these computers and gave them a brief introduction to the new system… Since then, no one has ever asked me how to do something with GNU/Linux. I made another test with an aunt of mine who lives here in Spain, who by the way drove me crazy saying “Linux is hard to use; it sucks”, and it worked too; she’s now a happy GNU/Linux user.
Although this workaround has not worked with my girlfriend; she bought a new laptop some months ago, and I suggested her to use Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu, but Ubuntu simply lasted three days (or so) on her computer: She got tired of its extreme simplicity, and asked me to give her KDE back as soon as possible.
To be honest, I don’t understand why KDE is seen as something hard to use (it’s actually the most similar to Windows!). Indeed it has far more widgets and options than Gnome, but this makes it harder to use? In my case, it makes me more productive and more comfortable when working on the computer.
In the end, the fact is that I’ll only recommend Ubuntu to newcomers from now on, with a brief mention of Kubuntu if they seem to be curious about computing, specially now when a new version of KDE (which will ship more widgets/tools/objects) is on the way.